Periodontal Disease Could Raise Pancreatic Cancer Risk

periodontal disease pancreatic cancerAbout 1.5 percent of American men and women develop pancreatic cancer, and only about 5 percent survive five years after being diagnosed. Research has suggested that periodontal disease may increase people’s risk of developing pancreatic cancer.

Researchers at New York University’s Langone Medical Center collected data from 361 patients with incident pancreatic cancer and 371 matched controls. The subjects were enrolled in the Cancer Prevention II Study and the Prostate, Lung, Colorectal, and Ovarian Cancer Screening Trial. The researchers controlled for other factors, such as age, race, gender, tobacco and alcohol use, body mass index, and history of diabetes, that could have increased the risk of developing pancreatic cancer.

The researchers found a significant correlation between pancreatic cancer risk and the presence of the bacteria Porphyromonas gingivalis and Aggregatibacter actinomycetemcomitans. They also found that the presence of Fusobacteria lowered participants’ risk of developing pancreatic cancer.

The participants were mostly white and non-Hispanic, so the researchers are not sure if their findings are applicable to other racial groups. The findings did not demonstrate a causal link between oral bacteria and pancreatic cancer, but they have helped scientists identify a new potential risk factor. They believe this information could be helpful in developing new approaches to prevent and detect pancreatic cancer.

Another study conducted by researchers at the Harvard School of Public Health, the University of San Juan, and the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute involved 51,000 men between the ages of 40 and 75. Researchers adjusted for age, smoking, obesity, diabetes, diet, and other factors and found that men with periodontal disease had a 63 percent higher risk of developing pancreatic cancer than men with healthy gums. The study did not establish a causal link.

Periodontal disease is an infection that affects the area just below the gums. It causes the tissues supporting teeth to break down. People who smoke or chew tobacco, have diabetes, take certain medications, have bridges that do not fit correctly, have defective fillings, are pregnant, or use oral contraceptives have an increased risk of developing periodontal disease. People can reduce their risk of developing gum disease by brushing twice a day and flossing once a day.

Scientists Discover Bacteria That Can Prevent Cavities

bacteria prevent cavitiesTooth decay is a common problem that affects millions of adults and children every year. Many common foods cause acid that wears away at tooth enamel and causes cavities. While good oral hygiene can help, some people who brush and floss every day still get cavities.

Scientists may be able to develop a pill in the future that can prevent cavities. Researchers have discovered a strain of bacteria that might be able to be used in supplements to prevent tooth decay.

The previously unidentified strain of bacteria is called Streptococcus A12. The study found that the bacteria reduce the amount of other bacteria that can lead to cavities by neutralizing acid found in the mouth.

Cavities occur when the pH in the mouth becomes too acidic and causes decay. Streptococcus A12 kills an especially harmful type of bacteria called Streptococcus mutans, which turns sugar in the mouth into lactic acid that then contributes to cavities.

The researchers discovered that Streptococcus A12 can kill Streptococcus mutans bacteria and can also metabolize arginine in the mouth, which contributes to a more neutral pH. Arginine is one of two compounds that are broken down in the mouth to help neutralize acid. This reduces the amount of acid in the mouth that could contribute to tooth decay. Past research found that people who have little or no dental decay are better at breaking down arginine than people who have more cavities.

Even if Streptococcus A12 does not kill the Streptococcus mutans bacteria, it can interfere with its normal processes that could lead to cavities. If the two bacteria are grown together, Streptococcus mutans cannot grow well and produce biofilms, or dental plaque.

The researchers theorize that a pill could be developed using bacteria from the mouths of people who are better at breaking down arginine. It could be given to people as a supplement to increase the amount of beneficial bacteria in their mouths and help prevent tooth decay.

For more information about dental science or for dental care in Wallingford, CT, visit Fried Dentistry today.

Researchers Use Electric Current to Deliver Anesthetic without Pain

dental anesthetic electric current needleWhen dentists need to perform invasive procedures in the mouth, they use anesthetics to block the pain. These are usually administered with needles, which cause fear and anxiety for many people.

Dentists sometimes use a topical anesthetic first to reduce the pain of the injection. Topical anesthetics can take the form of hydrogels, ointments, or sprays. Hydrogels containing lidocaine and prilocaine are the most common.

Many people put off going to the dentist because they are afraid of needles. New research may make it possible to have pain-free dental procedures by using an electric current instead of a needle.

Researchers at the University of Sao Paulo looked for a new way to get topical anesthetics into the body faster and more effectively. The researchers prepared a hydrogel with a polymer to make it stick to the lining of the mouth and then added two anesthetic drugs: prilocaine hydrochloride and lidocaine hydrochloride. They tested the gel on the lining of the mouth of a pig and found that applying a tiny electric current in a process called iontophoresis made it act faster and last longer. Their findings were published in the journal Colloids and Surfaces B: Biointerfaces.

The researchers believe their findings could help millions of people around the world who are afraid of needles. They believe their findings could improve access to dental care and patient compliance with treatment. The procedure could also reduce costs and prevent contamination and infection.

The researchers believe the technology could be used in dental anesthesia and in other areas, such as cancer treatment. They think the same method could be used to deliver drugs to the skin and eyes. They plan to develop an iontophoretic device and conduct preclinical trials.